China Telecom prematurely announces it will carry iPhone 5S/5C beginning September 20

China Telecom (iPhone 5C, image 002)

Just as Reuters suggested the major Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo could finally start carrying Apple’s iconic smartphone this Fall, numerous reports that are now coming out of Asia highlight a seemingly unusual slip-up on the part of China Telecom, the third-largest mobile telecommunication provider in the People’s Republic of China and tenth-largest carrier in the world.

The telco officially posted on the popular Chinese micro-blogging service Sina Weibo it’ll be offering both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C at launch. Heck, China Telecom had apparently been accepting pre-orders for both devices before it realized its “mistake” and took the post down…

The Chinese tech blog TechWeb was able to screenshot the post before it was pulled.

The carrier appears to had been accepting pre-orders briefly via this link. Per its removed post, China Telecom will offer the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C as soon as Friday, September 20, 2013, reports Tech In Asia.


The now deleted message reads:

China has been chosen as the first country where the iPhone 5S/5C will be shipped! Weibo preorder time! If you want to be one of the people who gets a handset on day one, click here.

Those who successfully preorder will also enjoy a high-end gift bag. Because the iPhone products haven’t actually shipped yet, detailed numbers and actual shipping information may change.

We’re expecting Apple to announce the new iPhones during next Tuesday’s keynote.

China Telecom’s slip-up actually matches up nicely with whispers of the iPhone 5S/5C hitting Apple’s major markets on September 20, including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France and Canada.

UnwiredView even spotted some website mockups on China Telecom’s servers that seem to be designed to accompany the launch, have a look below.

I’ve cropped out the impossibly tall graphics, the full screenshot can be found here.

China Telecom (iPhone 5C, image 001)

As you know, China Telecom is Apple’s official iPhone distributor in China.

As for China Mobile, Bloomberg in today’s report rather cryptically asserted that Apple and the telco will offer the iPhone “as soon as Apple gives in on the price”. The iPhone maker was reportedly willing to put a few concessions on the negotiating table after realizing the world’s top telco has the upper hand in these ongoing discussions.

iPhone 5S vs 5C casing video

Specifically, China Mobile asked for a lower-priced iPhone (check!),  support for China Mobile’s nascent TD-LTE 4G network (check!) and a portion of China App Store profits, a demand Apple thus far has been reluctant to give in to.

Even if the two tech titans reach an agreement, China Mobile won’t be able to start selling the iPhone before  November due to the lengthy regulatory approval process. For what it’s worth, Apple has scheduled a press conference for September 11 in Beijing, most likely to announce a landmark iPhone deal with China Mobile.

iPhones (iPhone 5, graphite gold iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C)

With NTT DoCoMo getting an iPhone and China Mobile probably next, China Telecom is about to feel some heat due to heightened competition. In turn, prices should go down as the carriers fight tooth and nail for each and every customer.

Unlike its rival China Unicom which turned to low-cost handsets after its exclusive agreement with Apple had expired, China Telecom has plenty of reasons to stick with the iPhone. For the six month period ending in June, it added 18.3 million 3G subscribers.

Revenues in the first half of 2013 jumped 28.3 percent – that’s mostly the work of Apple’s iPhone which helped attract more 3G customers to the China Telecom network.